In 2019 audience engagement enthusiasts and innovators across community-focused industries gathered to explore how a culture of listening, service and trust-building can make us better at what we do. Below is a recap of the inaugural Summit. While COVID scuttled our plans for our future events, we believe the lessons learned persist. 

“The Hearken Engagement Summit was an invaluable tool to illustrate the power of engagement to my colleagues, connect deeply with fellow practitioners, and fill notebooks with ideas that I am eager to bring into our civic news organization in 2020 and beyond. As a speaker, I learned so much throughout the process of getting ready for my presentation. Terry Parris and I collaborated in the months ahead of our presentation, but we also shaped our presentation on the fly with the brilliant minds and warm hearts in the room. We gained more than we gave because of the community that had gathered.”

Nation Hahn, Chief Growth Officer, EdNC

Purpose of the Summit:

If you care about journalism’s mission of informing and serving the public, then you care about audience engagement and treating communities we cover as partners rather than consumers. It’s that simple.

At Hearken’s inaugural Engagement Innovation Summit in October 2019, we gathered people driven by the charge of cultivating community and improving democracy through information sharing.

We brought together engagement pros, senior leaders, students, innovators and entrepreneurs across industries to develop a shared vision for audience engagement and community-building best practices, how to track and measure success and how this work will contribute to your organization’s bottom line ($) and future sustainability.

With profoundly important elections coming up in the United States and across the world, this gathering had a special track on how innovators are creating engaged elections coverage.

Participants left with:

  • New connections with people at the forefront of engagement innovation

  • A collaborative vision forward for the future path of public-powered journalism as a sustainable business practice

  • A tool kit for bringing your learnings back to your everyday work

  • Practical guides for creating more engaged elections coverage and a citizens agenda

Hearken’s Engagement Innovation Summit did not have long keynotes, boring Powerpoints, or vendors. It did have collaborative, hands-on sessions, interdisciplinary facilitators, and ample time for discussion, collective problem-solving and networking.

How the Summit differed from a typical conference:

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